My Saturday!

I was in the cooking mood today!  Also, in the catching-up on Boss and starting Girls mood…  All of which made for a fun day!

For lunch, I sauteed a pound of ground beef with orange and red bell peppers, and – of course – onions (don’t worry, I didn’t eat it all!).  Delicious, and oh-so simple.  For dinner, I made my friend Laura’s Vegan Three-Bean Chili, but served it over broccoli slaw instead of corn chips – all the crunch with none of the guilt!

 

#roscato #wine with mostly-#organic #threebean #vegan #chili and #broccolislaw // #whitagram

A post shared by Luke Bunker (@lukebunker) on

A few of our tulips have also started to bloom!  I wasn’t able to get great pictures, what with the sun beating down on them because I was too lazy to wait for the right light, but here’s a peek!  I’ve been seeing some of the trees around town start to bloom, so I might head over to the library tomorrow… redbuds and crabapples, oh my!

On Friday evening, before they really opened up...

On Friday evening, before they really opened up…

On Saturday, with mid-day brightness...  The tales of a lazy photographer continue...

On Saturday, with mid-day brightness… The tales of a lazy photographer continue…

Washington, D.C. – Day Two – Dupont Circle & Capitol Hill (Part I)

As promised, although delivered much later than I had wanted, here is a continuation from last week’s blog post about my short visit to Washington, D.C.:

After a morning of briefly exploring Georgetown, I texted my aunt (who works at the Library of Congress in the Geography & Maps Division) to see if we were still on for lunch (we were).  We had emailed earlier in the week and wanted to give Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery, a burger and shakes place on Capitol Hill, another try.  The last time I was at GSE had been to try their signature Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake during a December 2010 visit.  Since it is only a block or two’s walk away from my aunt’s office, we set a time and I slowly made my way across town, with thoughts of greasy burgers and heaps of flavorful fries on my mind.  Well, on my mind more than is usual, anyway.  😉

Hipsta in hand and snow on the sidewalks, I made my way from Georgetown to Dupont Circle and points beyond...

Hipsta in hand and snow on the sidewalks, I made my way from Georgetown to Dupont Circle and points beyond…

I decided to take P Street from Georgetown/Rose Park until I arrived at Dupont Circle, where I’d catch the Metro up to Capitol South and surprise my aunt at her office (I had gotten in too early the previous evening to see her).  I saw lots of neat things (and, as you’ll see, people) along the way!

Being from Kansas, a Wizard of Oz mural in the middle of Washington, D.C., was, well, too awesome.

Being from Kansas, a Wizard of Oz mural in the middle of Washington, D.C., was, well, too awesome.  See Toto in the lower left?

The architecture in D.C. is something anyone - architecture enthusiast or otherwise - can appreciate and marvel.  I tried to figure out how to process and crop this photo, and settled on this composition because it showed off the interesting shapes and details of the building.

The architecture in D.C. is something anyone – architecture enthusiast or otherwise – can appreciate and marvel at. I tried to figure out how to process and crop this photo, and settled on this composition because it showed off the interesting shapes and details of the building.

People of Dupont Circle:  KGB? CIA? Secret spy?? Can anyone tell I've been watching too much Homeland and The Americans???

People of Dupont Circle: KGB? CIA? Secret spy?? Can anyone tell I’ve been watching too much Homeland and The Americans???

People of Dupont Circle

People of Dupont Circle

People of Dupont Circle:  I'm sure he's just talking on the phone, but it looks like he's learning a new language.

People of Dupont Circle: I’m sure he’s just talking on the phone, but it looks like he’s learning a new language.  Plus, look at those guys on the bench back there!  D.C. is full of characters, just dying to be photographed.

Bicycles Galore...

Bicycles Galore…

HOT NOW:  A Tale of Krispy Kremes...

HOT NOW: A Tale of Krispy Kremes…

An Intimate Moment...?  Well, maybe they're iMessaging each other, LOL.

An Intimate Moment…? Well, maybe they’re iMessaging each other?! LOL

After making my way to Dupont Circle (and observing all of the interesting people along the way), I made a transfer at Metro Center and got off at Capitol South Metro and walked across the street to the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress.  I took some photos of the exterior of my aunt’s building and met her at her office.  After chatting for a bit, we made our way (by this point, it had started raining) to Good Stuff Eatery, met along the way by some very intense-looking USMC runners.

"What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable than that of liberty & learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?" - James Madison This quote is on the entry facade of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, where my aunt works.

“What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable than that of liberty & learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?” – James Madison
This quote is on the entry facade of the Library of Congress James Madison Building, where my aunt works.

Frank Eliscu's "Falling Books" at the entrance to the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Frank Eliscu’s “Falling Books” at the entrance to the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Good Stuff Eatery Cow Bell...  I ordered directly beneath this, so, yeah...  Let's hope it's attached well!

The Good Stuff Eatery Cow Bell… I ordered directly beneath this, so, yeah… Let’s hope it’s attached well!

The Good Stuff Melt @Good Stuff Eatery • Melted Cheddar & Muenster, Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms With Good Stuff Sauce I also decided to indulge with Spike's Village Fries Topped with Fresh Thyme, Rosemary & Sea Salt. I was feeling pretty happy that I'd chosen to walk all over that day, is all I have to say.

The Good Stuff Melt @Good Stuff Eatery • Melted Cheddar & Muenster, Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms With Good Stuff Sauce.  I also decided to indulge with Spike’s Village Fries, Topped with Fresh Thyme, Rosemary & Sea Salt.  I was feeling pretty secure in my decision to do my photo walks earlier that morning in the hopes that it would help make a dent in the calories I was about to ingest!!

The burger and fries were greasy, of course, but oh. so. damn. delicious.  I felt like my heart might stop at any minute, so I opted not to have a shake, remembering my experience a few years ago where I, Luke A. Bunker, could not even finish a milkshake from there because it was so sweet.  Looking back, that was a good call.

In my next post, I’ll share some photos I took at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (there’s a somewhat funny story there), as well as the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court Buildings.

Tonight’s Dinner

20140206-220217.jpg
Organic Penne Pasta with Garlic Alfredo, Chicken, Peas, Organic Red Pepper Flakes, Fresh-Ground Black Pepper and Fresh-Grated Romano. Yum!

I have really enjoyed cooking more at home lately. Not only am I saving money, but I have more control over what is in the food I choose to put in my body.

31-Day Blog Challenge: My Favorite Recipe

Day 27/31

Three-Bean Vegan Chili, made non-vegan with the addition of some shredded cheese.

Three-Bean Vegan Chili, made non-vegan with the addition of some shredded cheese.

Many thanks to my friend, Laura, for making this recipe for me while I visited her in Florida, which I’ve slightly adapted for what me and my family best enjoy!  It’s perfect for a winter eve, and it will serve around 6 people with good-sized bowls.

Three-Bean Vegan Chili

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cans Tri-Bean Blend Beans (or 1 can each of following:  Dark Red Kidney, Pinto, Black)
  • 2 Cans Italian Recipe Stewed Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
  • Vegetable Broth (I need to find out the amount – I could have sworn I posted this recipe.  Can I find it??  NO.)
  • ~1 1/2 Medium White Onions, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (I can’t remember the specific amount, but I used closer to 1)
  • 1/2 – 1 Tablespoons Cumin
  • Crushed Black Pepper & Pink Himalayan Salt

Directions:

  1. Heat broth in a nice, big soup pot and add onions, cooking until they get to that nice, brown color.  Go ahead and add in those spices so the onions and broth can soak it all up.  Don’t forget to add your garlic!
  2. Lightly rinse and drain the beans in-can and pour the beans and tomatoes in the pot.
  3. Simmer and make that baby cook!
  4. Serve over corn chips or with cheese and a dash of sour cream.  Or, you can eat it by itself – delicious!  (Shall you serve it with a nice red wine??  Sure – why not!)

*I recall posting this recipe somewhere else.  As I feel like I’m forgetting something as I’m going off a note on my iPhone, I will try to fill in the inconsistencies later.  Enjoy!!

31-Day Blog Challenge: 10 Favorite Foods

Day 21/31

Awwwww, foooooooood!  As excited as I’ve been for another post about food, I find myself at a loss to pick just ten favorite foods.  Seriously, that’s like making a parent pick their favorite child!!  Doable, but not altogether easy…

OMG, the creamy, the cheesy...  America's favorite comfort food gets the coveted #1 spot on my "Favorite Foods" list.

OMG, the creamy, the cheesy… America’s favorite comfort food gets the coveted #1 spot on my “Favorite Foods” list.

Macaroni & Cheese…  But, mostly, the “adult” variation with quality cheeses, CREAM, bacon, CREAM and truffle oil.  But, really, pasta of any variety will do just fine.

Coming in at the top three, this steak from Oliva Verde in Prague was so beautiful I just had to take a photo of it.

Coming in at the top three, this steak from Oliva Verde in Prague was so beautiful I just had to take a photo of it.

Steak…  There’s something about a filet or ribeye that’s just, well, right.  Having been born and raised in “The Cowboy Capital of the World,” where beef is big industry and a part of everyday life, I suppose it makes sense.  The two best steaks I have ever had were at Ruth’s Chris at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis and, #1, at ALC Steaks in Austin.  Beef:  it’s what’s for dinner.

potato soup

Is wine a food? Let’s go ahead and slip it in, right here…

Potatoes…  Again, pretty much any form is fine, but potato soup and loaded baked potatoes really take the cake, or rather, “the potato,” here.  I’m part Irish and German, so every time I eat potatoes, I am coming home.

Crêpes...  I pretty much refuse to eat them anywhere but Paris.  I guess you could say I was spoiled at first taste.

Crêpes… I pretty much refuse to eat them anywhere but Paris. I guess you could say I was spoiled “at first taste.”

Crêpes…  Pancakes, Nutella, strawberries/bananas/whatever…  How on earth could you go wrong?  They’re great everywhere in Paris, but my favorite is at Le Tire Bouchon in Montmartre – thanks to Chris Morrison for bringing us to this awesome piano bar!

chocolate

Chocolate. Need I say more?? (Fassbender & Rausch in Berlin – YUM; Godiva is my fave chain/brand)

Chocolate…  If you need an explanation for this, we can’t be friends.

Chipotle Burrito Bowls (with Guac, naturally).

Chipotle Burrito Bowls (with Guac, naturally).

Chipotle Burrito Bowls…  Just look at that picture.  Isn’t it beautiful?  My brother introduced me to the shrine-to-all-that-is-holy-that-is-Chipotle in December 2010.  I remember this introduction vividly…

Pretty much any Mexican food...  That being said, gringas have a special place in my heart.

Pretty much any Mexican food… That being said, gringas have a special place in my heart.

Mexican Food…  In particular, tacos, burritos, gringas, refried beans, posole…  Well, anyway.  Mexican food is my go-to comfort food.

This Frozen Jitter from The Good Egg in Wichita, Kansas...  It puts me in that Happy Place.

This Frozen Jitter from The Good Egg in Wichita, Kansas… It puts me in that Happy Place.

Frozen Coffee Drinks…  Frappuccinos, ice-creamy-coffee drinks.  There’s so much to love here that I can’t start to get into it for fear that I won’t be able to stop.  There’s probably a post on BuzzFeed about it, anyway.

Enstrom's Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee.

Enstrom’s Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee.

Enstrom’s Toffee.  Our good friends out in Colorado send us a tin of this toffee for Christmas every year, and it always fills us with joy (and, in the pursuit of honesty, calories).  The crunch, the richness, the flaky almond dust…  It all just works.  OH SO WELL.

Without further ado...

Without further ado…

The best thing I have ever eaten, ever…  I really don’t know how to describe this dish…  There were fried potatoes, there was a smattering of ham, a spattering of cheese, a dose of salad…  Whatever it was, it made La Marmite in Paris the location of, to this date and of my best recollection, the best dish I have ever eaten.  I have eaten a lot (look at pictures of me for proof), but I can still taste this dish.  It was sooooo good.  My friends and I still talk about it.

What are your favorite foods?  Please share in the comments below – I love hearing people talk about food!!!